Event | Recap of the Horizon Europe project HEPHAESTUS 2-day kick off


Two challenging and wonderful days of the Horizon Europe project Hephaestus kick off marks the dawn of a new chapter for both the consortium partners and the talented craft makers in Europe. The vibrant atmosphere of the two-day kick-off event was filled with anticipation and excitement, showcasing the immense potential for innovations that lie ahead.

The HEPHAESTUS two day kick off was held in Venice, Italy by the consortium communication and dissemination partner Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

Day 1 (26.05.2023): Craft, Business, Society, Sustainability

Plenary session

The highly anticipated event commenced with a dynamic plenary session, setting the stage for the project by delving into its context, needs, challenges, and objectives. Distinguished speakers graced the occasion, providing valuable insights and thought-provoking perspectives.

Prof. Caterina Carpinato, Vice-Rector for the Third Mission at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, took the stage and eloquently addressed the audience, shedding light on the significance of the project within the university’s mission. Her compelling speech highlighted the university’s commitment to fostering innovation, preserving cultural heritage, and driving societal impact through initiatives like the Horizon Europe project HEPHAESTUS.

Next, Marta Gasparin from Copenhagen Business School took the podium, captivating the audience with her presentation on “The Hephaestus project: craft for preserving and innovating futures.” Gasparin’s expertise and passion shone through as she explored the transformative potential of traditional crafts in the modern era. She emphasized the importance of preserving cultural heritage while simultaneously fostering innovation and envisioning a future where crafts play a vital role in shaping sustainable and inclusive societies.

Stefano Micelli, from the Department of Management, delivered a keynote address that resonated deeply with the attendees. Drawing from a decade of reflection and experimentation, Micelli’s speech centered around “Craftsmanship for sustainable growth: lessons learned.” His insights provided a comprehensive understanding of the interplay between craftsmanship, sustainable development, and economic growth. Micelli’s address served as a powerful reminder of the invaluable lessons that can be gleaned from the fusion of tradition and modernity.

The plenary session proved to be an engaging and enlightening experience for all participants, as the speakers brought forth their expertise and perspectives on the project’s context, objectives, and the transformative potential of crafts. The event set the stage for further exploration and collaboration, igniting a collective enthusiasm among attendees to embark on the journey of preserving, innovating, and leveraging the power of traditional crafts for a sustainable future.

Parallel sessions

During the parallel sessions of the event, two tracks were offered to attendees: “CRAFTS & BUSINESS” and “CRAFTS, SOCIETY & SUSTAINABILITY.”

In the “CRAFTS & BUSINESS” track, discussions revolved around the intersection of crafts, art, culture, and tourism. Presentations explored topics such as the role of social entrepreneurship and social innovation in the tourism industry, the impact of technology on craft-based organizations, and the controversies surrounding heritage craft making.

The “CRAFTS, SOCIETY & SUSTAINABILITY” track focused on the broader societal and sustainable aspects of crafts. One session examined how collaborative spaces support craft work in non-urban areas, highlighting the importance of creating environments that facilitate collaboration and craft production.

These parallel sessions provided a platform for in-depth discussions and knowledge sharing among experts, researchers, and attendees, shedding light on the diverse dimensions of crafts in both business and societal contexts. The presentations and discussions offered valuable insights into the challenges, opportunities, and social impact associated with crafts, fostering a deeper understanding of their significance and potential for sustainable development.

Closing plenary

The closing plenary served as a moment of reflection, bringing together all the participants of the workshop and the esteemed speakers to collectively contemplate the concepts, ideas, and challenges that had been explored throughout the day.

With an atmosphere of thoughtful introspection, the plenary session provided a platform for individuals to share their insights, observations, and key takeaways from the rich discussions that had taken place. It was a time to collectively digest and assimilate the knowledge and perspectives that had been shared, weaving together a tapestry of collective wisdom.

Participants from diverse backgrounds, including researchers, practitioners, and enthusiasts, had the opportunity to express their thoughts, offering unique perspectives on the topics discussed throughout the workshop. The plenary became a melting pot of ideas, fostering a sense of intellectual camaraderie and stimulating further dialogue. As the speakers reflected on the concepts and ideas they had presented, the audience eagerly listened, engaging in fruitful exchanges that further deepened their understanding.

Ultimately, the closing plenary was not only a moment of reflection but also a catalyst for continued exploration and future collaborations.


Day 2 (27.05.2023):

The enchanting city of Bassano del Grappa provided a picturesque backdrop for the events that unfolded on the second day. The day began with a warm welcome from Elena Pavan, the esteemed Mayor of Bassano del Grappa, setting a hospitable tone for the proceedings. Shortly after, the Hephaestus project was introduced by Prof. Marta Gasparin from Copenhagen Business School and Prof. Fabrizio Panozzo from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, unveiling the project’s vision and objectives to the eager audience.

The presentation by craft ambassadors showcased 4 craft ecosystems of the Hephaestus project. The ambassadors captivated the audience with their passion and expertise, illustrating the diverse and innovative approaches taken to preserve and advance traditional crafts within their respective ecosystems.

The program also featured a captivating keynote speech titled “Arts, Crafts, and Manufacturing in Bassano in historical perspective,” delivered by Prof. Giovanni Favero from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

The event attracted a wide range of attendees, including not only researchers, professionals, and policymakers but also members of the general public. This diverse audience underscored the widespread interest and significance of the issues tackled by the Hephaestus project, as people from all walks of life came together to contribute to the discourse and celebrate the rich heritage of crafts.

Opening of the Hephaestus exhibition “Atmospheres of craft” by D20 ART LAB

The Horizon Europe project Hephaestus kick off event culminated in a spectacular exhibition, where the consortium partners proudly unveiled visionary creations of craft makers.

The mayor of the Bassano del Grappa opened this event and her words resonated with the audience, further reinforcing the importance of the Hephaestus project in bringing together talents and expertise from various disciplines. The project had not only ignited a spark of inspiration but had also established strong partnerships among individuals and organizations, poised to drive meaningful change in the realms of art, technology, and beyond. Visitors were left in awe of the boundless creativity and the innovative solutions presented by craft makers.

With hearts filled with determination, the consortium partners and craft makers embarked on this extraordinary journey, armed with their shared vision, expertise, and unwavering belief in the power of innovation. The Hephaestus project had set the stage for an incredible adventure, and together, they would leave an indelible mark on the world of art and technology.